FS Bioenergia, which is a joint venture between the Brazilian company Fiagril Participações and the North American Summit Agricultural Group, inaugurated the first plant in Brazil, in August 2017, for the production of ethanol exclusively from corn.
High efficiency production
Located in Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso, Brazil's main corn producer state, the recently built company is driven by state-of-the-art technology. In line with this philosophy, WEG, as one of the largest electric motor manufacturers in the world, incorporates the new company with its W22 IR3 Premium efficiency motors, providing superior efficiency level, lower maintenance costs, increased sustainability, improved productivity and service lifetime for all equipment. Due to tough conditions of certain plant areas, flameproof motors, such as W22xd IR3 Premium, have been specified in order to meet zones 1 and 21 requirements, where, under normal operating conditions, an explosive atmosphere may occasionally occur.
While specifying the products, WEG’s technical team worked in partnership with US manufacturers, the world's largest corn ethanol producers, to ensure suitable electric motors to drive FS Bioenergia operating equipment. Considering that electric motors and other machinery in the new plant follow North American design, the WEG motors have been mechanically designed according to NEMA standards, although electrically they have been designed as per IEC standards. The plant substation is power supplied by the 10 MVA dry transformers, while other transformers ranging from 300 kVA, 2,500 kVA and 2,000 kVA are used for other plant processes. For the plant cogeneration of energy, a package of electric equipment was installed, including the main plant ST 40, 22,500 kVA generator, which works together with a certified medium voltage MTW-03 switchgears, control, protection, power import and export panels, besides the automation system designed by WEG engineering.
Advantages of corn ethanol
The main advantage of investing in corn ethanol production in Brazil, is related to the fact that there is a large supply and demand of corn in Mato Grosso, where domestic consumption is quite small, while exports represent almost 70% of the ethanol production.
The plant’s initial expected production capacity is about 240 million liters of ethanol per year, from its grinding capacity of 530 thousand tons of grain per year on the first phase, with the possibility of getting to 1 million tons on the second phase. It is expected that each ton of processed corn is going to turn into 420 liters of ethanol, 380 kg of DDGs (animal feeding meal) and 20 kg of crude oil. The new plant will still have the potential of producing up to 186 thousand tons of corn bran annually, 125 thousand tons of bran with high fiber content, 61 thousand tons of bran with high protein content, and 7 thousand tons of corn oil.
The power supply is generated from biomass, providing the internal plant consumption and allowing the sales of the excess production, which results in financial benefits to the company. The expected cogeneration capacity is going to be in the range of 60,000 MWh, enough power supply for a 25 thousand habitant’s town.
One of the greatest advantages of biofuel production as an important component of the global energy sector, is that this product is an excellent alternative to fossil fuels, with much less negative impact to the environment. Producing ethanol from corn is an alternative of adding value to the product, the mill must operate 355 days of the year without off-season and produce Ethanol Anhydrous, Hydrated Ethanol, and DDGs, favoring other industrial chains, such as beef and dairy farms, fish farms, pork farms and chicken farms.
These are just some of the benefits achieved with the smart and combined use of WEG solutions in the production of biofuels.